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The 12 Absolute Best Dive Bars in Chicago

By Urbanmatter Chicago @UMatterChicago

Trusted Neighborhood Haunts That Deliver on Divey-ness

A dive bar can mean different things to different people: a bar that isn’t trendy, a bar where you can smoke, a bar where the bartender knows your, your best friend’s and your parents’ life stories, a bar you can stumble to at 3am when the rest shout ‘last call,’ or simply a bar with dirt cheap drinks.

Whether you’re looking for one or all of these qualities on your next night out, our list capture’s the absolute best dive bars in Chicago, down to the very last Old Style can.

Alice’s Lounge
Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: Alexander Lilly

3556 W Belmont Ave

Hours: 7pm – 4am

As one of the city’s most laid-back bars, it had to appear on our list. Known for its late-night karaoke and $2 kamikazes, this Logan Square dive is a Chicago mainstay.

Carol’s Pub
Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: Travel + Leisure

4659 N Clark St

Hours: 11am – 4am

This is a rare spot where fans of honky tonk and country can line dance the night away. With a somewhat old school atmosphere, this Uptown gem brings in patrons of all ages, and at all hours.

Richard’s Bar
Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

491 N Milwaukee Ave

Hours: 7am – 2am

This West Town favorite is the kind of no-frills, no-nonsense place that we expect when we think of dive bars. It has all the essentials: cheap domestics, neon signs from wall to wall, and of course, a jukebox.

L&L Tavern
Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: Timeout

3207 N Clark St

Hours: 5pm – 2am

Amidst the clubs and sports bars of Wrigleyville quietly lies this beloved city dive. A hodge-podge set up, standard shot-and-a-beer special, and dimly lit atmosphere make this tavern one of Chicago’s best.

Happy Village
Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: Timeout

1059 N Wolcott Ave

Hours: 4pm – 2am

This homey Ukrainian Village bar is more friendly than edgy. Their sprawling beer garden and board game selection make it an easy crowdpleaser and relaxing summer watering hole. They even have a koi pond.

Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: Screenless Tavern League

2149 S Halsted St

Hours: 4pm – 2am

While this Pilsen joint may draw in a hip crowd, it’s rooted in vintage charm. It has local appeal, a photo booth, and a low-key, delicious menu.

Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: Koval Distillery

2771 N Lincoln Ave

Hours: 4pm – 2am

Widely recognized as an in-your-face Chicago bar that plays equally aggressive tunes, this Lincoln Park spot has an impressive whiskey list and the hallmark gritty vibe of a classic dive.

The Empty Bottle
Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: CNN

1035 N Western Ave

Hours: 3pm – 2am

This live music venue in Ukrainian Village that draws in fans of alternative and indie also offers a pool table and a handful of arcade games, making it an all-in-one dive bar experience.


Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: Timeout

1315 W North Ave

Hours: 9pm – 4am

The definitive Chicago punk bar has been around since the early ’80s and is still going strong. Located on the edges of Wicker Park and Bucktown, the bar is open ’til dawn and is what some would call historic.

Rossi’s Liquors
Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: Eater Chicago

412 N State St

Hours: 7am – 2am

You haven’t quite been to a “hole-in-the-wall” kind of place until you’ve been to Rossi’s. This favorite bar that also functions as a liquor store is hidden in bustling River North. Enter if you dare.

Old Town Ale House
Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: FlipOuting

219 W North Ave

Hours: 3pm – 4am

Some argue this bar to be the hands-down best dive bar in the city. Old Town’s late-night, artsy spot is cash-only and has plenty of personality, as it’s been around for ages.

The Matchbox
Dive Bars in Chicago
Photo Credit: Dave Hoekstra

770 N Milwaukee Ave

Hours: 4pm – 2am

On a corner in River West sits what could be Chicago’s smallest bar. It has a welcoming atmosphere and an air of familiarity. Don’t be fooled by the mixologist-level cocktails, this place has been around forever.

What’s your favorite Chicago dive bar? Let us know below!

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